The US-China MOU on Air and Maritime Encounters

The US-China MOU on Air and Maritime Encounters

The U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) On the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters announced after the November 12 summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama is definitely a step forward on this vexing issue. However, it does not address the two countries’ fundamental differences on the matter and thus is unlikely to prevent some future incidents.

Just last August a Chinese fighter jet intercepted a U.S. Navy Poseiden sub-hunter over the South China Sea in what the U.S. deemed a “dangerous, unsafe and unprofessional” manner. This was not the first incident involving U.S. and Chinese military aircraft and vessels nor is it likely to be the last. The U.S.-China military relationship has already been strained by the EP-3, the Bowditch, the Impeccable, and Cowpens encounters.

These incidents all involved Chinese challenges to U.S. Naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) vessels and aircraft operating in and over China’s 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Clearly the U.S. “rebalancing” to Asia is coming face to face with China’s naval expansion, rising capabilities, and ambitions. Indeed, the two have converging strategic trajectories. China is developing what the U.S. calls an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy that is designed to control China’s “near seas” and prevent access to them by the U.S. in the event of a conflict – say between China and Taiwan. The U.S. response is the air-sea battle (ASB) concept, which is intended to cripple China’s command, control, communications, computer and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems (C4 ISR). This means that C4 ISR is the “tip of the spear” for both sides and both are trying to dominate this sphere over, on and under China’s Voir l’article en entier

Via:: ILERI Défense

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